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5 Things to Start Your Spring Garden Indoors

Kick your spring gardening off with a bang by following these tips on sowing seeds indoors.

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Pick the Right Mix

You don’t need much equipment to be an expert seed sower, and you can get most of it for free. The one thing you will need to buy is seed sowing mix or the ingredients to make your own. A planting mix for seeds needs to be lightweight and drain well.

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Get Gardening Early

Most annuals, any vegetables and lots of perennials are reasonably easy to grow from seed. A greenhouse is a wonderful thing to have if you enjoy sowing seeds, but a few sunny windowsills or some fluorescent lights are all you really need to get started. You can get dozens of tiny seedlings out of one seed tray. 

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Label Your Containers

It is important to label your seed containers when you sow them – mark the name of the seed and the date you sow it. White plastic plant labels can be cleaned and reused very easily or use felt-tip markers on pieces of wood or wooden craft sticks.

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Spread Your Seeds

Fill your seed trays with planting mix, firm it down, and water well before sowing. Let the water soak the planting mix thoroughly, then let the excess drain off – you don’t want to sow into puddles. Follow the sowing instructions on the packet.Sprinkle seeds evenly and thinly over the surface of the compost, leaving approximately 1/2-1 inch between each one. Cover seeds with a thin layer of compost.

Note: It’s hard to sow tiny seeds (such as those of begonias or petunias) evenly so you may want to mix them with fine sand, then put them in the palm of your hand, and close your hand evenly around them. Let them dribble slowly out along the central line on your hand and try not to sow them in dense clumps. Larger seeds, such as those of nasturtiums, marigolds and cornflowers, can be individually placed into the planting mix.

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Cover Your Seeds

It’s best to start your seeds out of direct sunlight or emerging seeds can get too hot and fry. To keep humidity high, cover seed trays with plastic until the seeds germinate – this keeps the seeds self-watered from water dripping off the plastic covering. You can uncover them and move them into a sunnier spot when seeds have germinated. The most important trick to raising seeds is to keep the planting mix evenly moist – do not let it dry out or get sodden. Your seedlings should stay in a tray for about six weeks, and then you can pot them individually.